Movie about Brown County opioid crisis sells out theaters at Heartland Film Festival

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INDIANAPOLIS — A film at the Heartland Film Festival is outselling the likes of Will Smith and Kristen Stewart at the festival box office. It’s called The Addict’s Wake and is about the opioid crisis in Brown County.

“We have to increase emotional awareness for healing to happen,” said Lisa Hall, executive producer of the movie.

It is produced by Indiana-based Glory Girl Films, which is also owned by Hall. The movie came to fruition after producer Amy Pauszek saw a social media post from Carmel talking about a family who had just been to three funerals. Each one was connected to an overdose death. That’s when she picked up the phone and dialed Hall’s number.

“She called and said what is the climate of substance use disorder in Brown County. I said it’s pandemic,” recalled Hall.

The creators follow the impact drugs have on Hoosiers and their families. At the world premiere at Newfields on Monday, the governor’s office gave the Distinguished Hoosier Award to a family featured in the movie.

“It’s really important that we tell the stories in ways that break down the stigma,” said Doug Huntsinger, executive director of Drug Prevention, Treatment and Enforcement. He was at the premiere to give out the award.

“We have some big screenings, but nothing that has sold out the Toby Theater at over 500 seats,” detailed Jessica Chapman, marketing director with Heartland Film Festival. “It’s a story that touches people, that people need to hear. I think people will have a better understanding of what is happening next door.”

The creators hope the movie furthers the conversations about addiction.

“Say what can we do? How can our family plug in? Is there an hour a week I can give someone?” added Hall.

If you missed the premiere, you can still see it from the comfort of your own home. It is streaming virtually on Heartland Film Festival’s website.

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